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Thinking about bowhunting next year...

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Thinking about bowhunting next year...

Old 12-03-2012, 07:40 AM
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Nontypical Buck
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Default Thinking about bowhunting next year...

I do not wish to take up bowhunting for several reasons, but I am strongly leaning towards it several other reasons. Namely, I only hunt public land. Muzzleloader season here in VA is great because nobody does man drives and you aren't allowed to run dogs. But since I only hunt public land, I am subjected to these hunting "techniques" on public land during gun season and there's nothing I can do about it. And those techniques cause the deer to stay bedded most times and become completely nocturnal. That is why I am considering taking up the bow.

I do not want to bow hunt for several reasons. First of all, hunting deer with green leaves still on the trees along with the obscenely warm October days that are possible here in Central Virginia just seems, to me, well...wrong (not morally, of course). Unfitting is probably a better word. I have squirrel hunted in early October and even that seems odd to me.

I also don't like the idea of not crushing the deer with loads of hydrostatic shock and turning their insides to mush in an instant. I believe that a well-placed bullet immediately sends the deer into shock and they are dead before they realize what has happened. In fact, if a neck shot is possible, I often choose that, which causes instant death in most cases. I realize that the mantra of a bowhunter is to become one with your weapon and practice, practice practice, but you read posts by bowhunters time and again where the slightest thing went wrong which caused they shot to be imperfect, resulting in a lost deer or long tracking job (read: slow death). And the bowhunter that lost or had to track the deer always says that they practice a ton, etc. I find it hard to believe that even the best bowhunter doesn't fire the occasional imperfect shot during a hunt.

Although I don't claim to be perfect, I have only lost one deer, and that was because I (in my first season of hunting) stupidly used buckshot during a hunt (never again). Every other deer I have shot with my muzzleloader, rifle or slug gun has been recovered quickly and easily, even with slightly imperfect shots (which is why bullet selection is key). The thought of wounding a deer with an arrow doesn't sit well with me.

I borrowed this quote from another recent thread because it's a good starting point for a question I have:

Originally Posted by BGfisher View Post
Not only all the things you said, but gun hunting in many states is not real hunting. It's gunning. When you pick up a bow you learn to HUNT. After so many years the kill becomes only a secondary part of the experience.
It depends on the mentality of the person behind the trigger. When you are talking about some of those I described above...the dog hunters, the man drivers, agreed. Of the last four deer I have killed, three have been less than 15 yards away from me (one from a tree, two from the ground), and one 20 yards away from the ground. I let two bucks go the other morning from my stand, both on the same trail 10 yards from my stand.

So my question is this: what is going to be different for me if I take up the bow? I understand the movement involved in drawing a bow, but I honestly feel I could have drawn a bow on any of those deer I mentioned.
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Old 12-03-2012, 08:25 AM
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lmao...many others before you and i have asked the same question. you are just gonna have to get a bow and let us know in a couple years. it's different for everybody. some guys/gals its a life changer, for others not so much. for me, it was definitely a game changer. as far away from gun hunting as one could get. so grab a bow, practice for a couple years, and then get ya a hunt in and show us some pics already. i wouldnt wait til the start of bow season to give er a try. we will see if ya let as many walk down that trail without taking a shot with yer bow as ya did yer gun. gl
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Old 12-03-2012, 09:58 AM
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I'd rather bow hunt than gun hunt for a few reasons:
- warmer weather, no freezing your butt off (NH season starts mid-Sept). Bowhunting in those first cool October days when leaves are changing is awesome!
- challenge. It's plain and simple, harder. Sounds like you've got the "get close" part under control. But now that they are close, you need to draw, aim and shoot without getting caught. It's more movement than with gun (though that close a gun isn't a done deal either)

I'd rather gun hunt mostly because of the increased range. In some states where you see lots of deer, this wouldn't be an issue, but here we see deer MAYBE one in 5 hunts, and that's a good success rate. Now when you only see 2-3 deer per year, but they are hanging around at 40+ yards, that moves them to "saw but to far for a shot" territory. It can get frustrating.

As for effective killing, bows cause severe and sudden blood pressure loss and lack of being able to breath. I've shot deer that sort of just stood there apparently not feeling the arrow go through, walk a few steps and tip over. I've also had to trail gun shot deer, so it goes both ways.

My guess is MOST bad shots are from lack of experience shooting at a deer. You simply can't practice this without shooting at deer. My one and only lost deer with a bow was my fault. Since I've become more "calm" for lack of a better term, when shooting at deer, my tracking distance has gone down and success up.
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Old 12-03-2012, 11:19 AM
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There are pro's and con's to both gun and bow. Hunting with a bow is enjoyable to me for a few reasons. A. i get from the 3rd weekend in september until the last day in december to hunt bucks and in the early and late season i hunt all day in a stand without hearing a gunshot, so i can choose not to hunt during rifle season if i want. It is also a more blood pumping experience, for me anyway. As far as wounding deer goes, if you are too excited to shoot or you are not sure of the shot. You do have the option of not taking it.
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Old 12-03-2012, 01:41 PM
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If I get a bow I'd rather get a nicer one that is used. I am sure there are plenty of well-to-do folks that get a new bow every season because they can. Any advice on where to look, and what to look for? I'd hate to go to an archery shop to try out new bows to see what I like when I have no intention of buying a bow from them. Then again, they will be the ones setting up the bow and selling me accessories.
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Old 12-03-2012, 01:50 PM
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while i only bow hunt,
as you decide, keep in mind, more they push bow hunting,
more they take away from gun hunters,
many places promote bow hunting not because they are pro hunting but as a way to take guns out of the woods,
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Old 12-03-2012, 01:55 PM
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alot of archery shops buy used bows and take trade-ins so you can still get a used one there and have them set it up for you. i know scheels stores also do trade-ins if you have one of their stores nearby. bowsite.com also has a huge used section. Bows are something that you should try before you buy so buying online isnt always the key unless you have already tried out a particular bow.
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Old 12-03-2012, 02:11 PM
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im wanting to get into bow hunting as well. ive only gun hunted, mainly because i felt like i wouldnt practice shooting enough to feel confident. of course all good shooters could have a bad shot but the more you shoot the more consistent you become.
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Old 12-03-2012, 03:35 PM
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Originally Posted by SalRanger2 View Post
im wanting to get into bow hunting as well. ive only gun hunted, mainly because i felt like i wouldnt practice shooting enough to feel confident. of course all good shooters could have a bad shot but the more you shoot the more consistent you become.
LOL, well that's one reason I am interested in bow hunting; I'll have something I can shoot in my back yard all day long! My muzzleloader? Not so much. Lots of time involved in simply taking a trip to the range and back. And I love shooting my muzzleloader.
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Old 12-03-2012, 03:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Terasec View Post
while i only bow hunt,
as you decide, keep in mind, more they push bow hunting,
more they take away from gun hunters,
many places promote bow hunting not because they are pro hunting but as a way to take guns out of the woods,
Give me an example of what you are talking about. Are you talking public land, or local firearm ordinances in general? I live in a suburban county. Even though there are plenty of places with enough land to justify rifle use, centerfire rifles are prohibited but shotguns and muzzleloaders are permitted (and rimfires but not for deer, obviously). In the only area of public land available for hunting in this particular county, the hunters would go apesh** if they decided to make it bow only. And I mean just crazy. There probably would be some dead politicians as a result.

But...and this may be what you are talking about...a more recent development has been the "urban archery" seasons. Basically, it has opened new areas for hunting that were not previously available. Albeit only to archers, I see it as a positive. I (unfortunately) live in a neighborhood, and I have seen deer behind my house. If granted permission, you could feasibly hunt with archery equipment in my neighborhood. Though I am a proponent of personal responsibility, I am not so sure I would be thrilled at the sound of firearms in my neighborhood.

Take note of my avatar. Even though I use and (for now) prefer the use of a firearm for hunting, in no way would I stand for more restrictions...of any kind...on firearms. And the "come and take it" slogan has nothing to do with the use of firearms, or lack thereof, during hunting.
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